A mission statement is a statement of purpose – why the organization exists. A statement of purpose should be short and concise. Too often mission statements are either vision statements or begin to devlve into vision statements along with goals and strategies. I believe that if it can’t fit into 140 characters (the length of a Twitter tweet) then it is useless as the staff, the board, the members/shareholders, and the public will not be able to remember it.
Some missions statements that meet my criteria are:
- To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldy go where no one has gone before. – Star Trek
- To eliminate hunger and its root causes throughout Columbia County – Columbia Pacific Food Bank
- The Idaho Credit Union League is dedicated to the success of credit unions in Idaho – Idaho Credit Union League
All three are concise and easy to remember and clearly express the purpose of the organization.
Now, let’s look at three that do not meet the criteria and how they can be shortened to be more clear.
- McDonald’s vision is to be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.
- The Walt Disney Company’s objective is to be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information, using its portfolio of brands to differentiate its content, services and consumer products. The company’s primary financial goals are to maximize earnings and cash flow, and to allocate capital profitability toward growth initiatives that will drive long-term shareholder value.
- Our mission is to be the leading financial services provider by earning and maintaining trusting relationships with our membership – one member at a time.
Each can be shortened as follows:
McDonald’s : “To be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience.” The rest of their statement is about how they are going to achieve the mission.
Walt Disney’s: “To be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.” Again, the rest is about how they are going to achieve the mission and the finanical goals for the company.
Lacamas Community Credit Union: “To be the leading financial services provider by earning and maintaining trusting relationships.” Here the mission statement limits the credit union to the current membership. As a community credit union the mission should include the potential and actual membership. The rest is about how they are going to achieve the mission.
What are your thoughts?